Food for Thought – Pumpkins

Pumpkins: The Super Food of Fall

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This year, don’t skip on this fall fruit… that’s right, pumpkin, often referred to as a vegetable, is actually a fruit!

Pumpkin is the superfood of the Fall because it packs a nutrient-dense punch while being low in calories. Aren’t you gourd someone told you! Delve into this blog to learn more about the wonderful health benefits of pumpkin.

Health benefits:

Great for your eyes

Pumpkin contains vitamin A which supports strong eyesight and strengthens your immune system. Just one cup of pumpkin can contain over 200% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin A!

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Healthy for your heart

In addition to vitamin A, pumpkin contains potassium, vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants which all help prevent heart disease. Foods that are high in potassium, like pumpkin, can help support normal blood pressure.

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Boosts your immune system

One cup of pumpkin contains 19% of the daily recommended allowance of vitamin C. “Vitamin C is an immune system booster that helps reduce cell damage from free radicals (unstable molecules that can bind to your cells).” (Cleveland Clinic, 2022)

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Contains cancer-fighting carotenoids

What are carotenoids? Carotenoids are plant pigments that are specifically found in yellow, orange, and red plants and can also help fight off the effects of free radicals in your body. Carotenoids may help protect against certain types of cancer.

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Keeps you full

Pumpkin is nutrient-dense with minimal calories. One cup of pumpkin is only about 50 calories. It also contains fiber which can help you feel full for longer!

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Super-healthy seeds

Don’t skip on the seeds! Pumpkin seeds are not only delicious when prepared correctly, but also very nutritious. The seeds contain compounds that can help reduce your risk of certain cancers, improve your bowel and prostate health, reduce your risk of heart disease, and even help improve your sleep.

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*All the above information was derived from the Cleveland Clinic,

Tips for including pumpkin in your diet:

  1. Roast pumpkin in the oven for a side dish
  2. Stir pureed or canned pumpkin into soups or sauces to thicken them
  3. Substitute pumpkin for fat or oil in breads, muffins, and pancakes
  4. Add pumpkin to plain or vanilla yogurt with some pumpkin spice and a bit of honey
  5. Mix pumpkin into a smoothie or turn it into a healthy pudding

*All the above tips were derived from the Cleveland Clinic,

Try these pumpkin recipes:

– Abigail Loose, GatorCare Wellness Supervisor

Want more?

Check out our previous edition of Food for Thought!

Every year, from September 15th to October 15th, the United States celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month. Learn more about the long history of Hispanic cuisine with our previous edition of Food for Thought!

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